Traditional Surrogacy
What Is Traditional Surrogacy?

What Is Traditional Surrogacy?

Considering traditional surrogacy and not sure if it is the right method for you? Here is everything you should know about this form of surrogacy.

Traditional surrogacy is the earliest known surrogacy type in history, which is why it’s called ‘traditional’. 

Traditional or genetic surrogacy is a process that uses the surrogate’s egg to create the pregnancy, and that means that the surrogate is the child’s biological mother. This, compared to the more common method of gestational surrogacy, in which embryos are created using the intended mother or an egg donor’s egg, so the surrogate is not biologically related to the child.

Naturally, intended mothers who can produce healthy eggs but cannot carry a pregnancy to term for whatever reason are much less likely to use traditional surrogacy, but even other intended parents rarely choose this surrogacy process, due to the emotional and legal complexities involved.

What sets traditional surrogacy apart

There are a few processes that are unique to traditional surrogacy. 

  1. Intended parents do not need to go through the process of finding an egg donor. 
  2. The surrogate doesn’t undergo IVF (in vitro fertilization) to create embryos. To create the pregnancy, the surrogate undergoes artificial insemination via IUI (intrauterine insemination). This procedure is less complicated and less expensive than IVF.
  3. Since the surrogate has a genetic link to the baby she is carrying, traditional surrogacy involves more complex legal processes than gestational surrogacy.
  4. The total surrogacy cost tends to be lower in traditional surrogacy, mainly because of the simpler medical procedures.
  5. Due to the emotional and legal entanglements, not many surrogacy professionals are willing to get involved in traditional surrogacy agreements.


Some US states, even ones where gestational surrogacy is legal, do not allow traditional surrogacy at all. 

In addition, the laws in the states that do allow traditional surrogacy are usually vague, at best, and the legalities involved are not straight forward and much more complicated than other forms of surrogacy.

The states that permit traditional surrogacy are New Hampshire, Maryland, Florida, Maine, Wisconsin, Missouri and Virginia, but often they have restrictions in place as to who can enter into such contracts, for example only when the carrier is a family member or only if the intended parents are a married couple.

The legal procedures that may be needed in traditional surrogacy are:

  • Termination of parental rights.
  • Stepparent or second-parent adoption, and in some cases single-parent adoption.

The risk

In most forms of surrogacy, it’s extremely rare for surrogates to challenge the agreement they signed and fight for custody of the child they carried, but in traditional surrogacy there is always the legal risk that the surrogate will change her mind.

As the biological mother of the child, the surrogate could feel she formed a bond with the baby and potentially decide she wants to keep it and become the baby’s parent.

If that happens, the intended parents or parent will need to enter into a legal battle and try to win custody, which can take a long time and cost a lot of money.

Pros and cons

To sum it all up, here are the advantages and disadvantages of traditional surrogacy.



  • More risky.
  • Legally complex.
  • Fewer options when choosing surrogacy professionals.
  • As many surrogates prefer gestational surrogacy, it may take you longer to find a surrogate.
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